First published in issues 25, 26, and 27 of the obliviositer and republished in one volume by the author’s Saskatoon-based brown comix in 1998, Pulpspotting presents a slice of a bildungsroman for a pop culture-obsessed age. The manner in which it references pop culture puts it in the twentieth or twenty-first century; the specific references place it in the 1990s. However, the story has a broader appeal than that. At its core, it’s about maturation, and realizing that what you did at 20 no longer seems quite so interesting a few years later.

It’s also about realizing that, below our passionate political and ideological leanings, often lurk more basic impulses and personal motivations.

General Information

Title: Pulpspotting
Writer/artist: Tim Brown

Available from Brown Comix

Premise:

man, there’s just gonna be a bunch of artsie-alternageek-neohippy wannabes, chainsmoking and drinking and yapping on about how “LAST weekend i was soooooooo stoned” thinking they’re oh so very hip and counter-culture because they smoke pot and dress like retards. woah… when did i become such a nazi…?

Two guys go to a party with some friends they haven’t seen for awhile.

High Points

Tim offers his comix for sale at the party, only to have people assume they’re free. His rationalization for why he’s going to let them keep the issues is hilariously flawed– and he knows it– but it’s amusingly presented.

Low Point

Brown needs to work on his drawings of interior spaces.

The Scores

Originality: 2/6

Artwork: 4/6 Despite some problems with physical space, his basic style gets a number of things right. Tim Brown draws most of the characters in a fairly conventional comic-book form. His namesake looks like a Terrance and Phillip creation; the upper portion of his head detaches at the jawline whenever he speaks. The posters and pop-icons, however, get a far more detailed, realistic treatement than any of the people, suggesting one of his themes: that media products have become more real to some of us than our neighbours.

Story: 4/6 This reads well for a story lacking in major plot developments, and bears rereading.

Characterization: 4/6 The characterizations may not be deep, but they are effective. I know these people. I partied with their older relatives.

Emotional response: 4/6 .

Flow 6/6

Overall: 4/6

In total, Pulpspotting receive a score of 28/42.

Additional Comments

…it’s the perception that this MOVIE is somehow a quintisential defining moment of our generation or something and everyone is fucking fanatical about it for a full year!… until of course, the next ‘quintisential generation defining movie’ comes along…

The final portion mostly deals with Tim and Joe’s conversation as they drive home. They complain about how all-pervasive popular culture has become, about how people know mroe about their TV Friends than their real-life neighbours. They both liked Pulp Fiction and Train Spotting but, like a good many other viewers, they just didn’t feel they were as good as critics and crowds made them out to be. Tim, especially, finds appalling that “a loser junkie who hangs out with a couple of psychos and a complete imbecile” and a “loser junkie mob killer who ends up dead in a shitter” can be considered heroes by his friends.

The saving grace of the conversation is that they realize they’re being pretentious, and that Tim would love to have the same adolation bestowed upon his comics. In the end, this less concerns Tim’s theories about the media and society, than his grief at realizing he has grown beyond the person he was a couple years earlier, and can no longer relate to his friends.

Pulpspotting doesn’t so much address the defining moments of a generation, as of an individual.

A more developed review of this comic appears at E2.